Ballroom Ribbon Cutting

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CSU Ballroom Ribbon Cutting - 2nd November, 2011

Pinatas were broken, ribbons were cut and thanks was given at Wednesday’s Public Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the newly renovated Centennial Student Union Ballroom at Minnesota State University, Mankato.

Before the event officially started, university officials, professors, students and members of the community mingled and enjoyed refreshments while discussing the renovated ballroom.

Many attendees commented on why the public ribbon cutting ceremony was so late in comparison to the opening of the ballroom last week.

President Richard Davenport attributes the official ceremony to the University’s excitement of the completion of the project.

“I think we’re going to have a number of openings. We had a grand opening at the beginning of the week,” Davenport said. “It’s simply another point of pride that we give credit to our students for.”

When Davenport saw the CSU more than 10 years ago, he recognized three spaces he wanted to renovate: key areas in the CSU needing a touch-up, Ostrander Auditorium and the ballroom.

“All of my wishes and dreams have come true thanks to the leadership of the students and staff that made this happen,” Davenport said. “This is kind of a public doorway to the institution, and you’re going to see it used in variety of ways.”

Davenport said he thought it was fitting that the ballroom was opened at this point in the University’s history.

“This year, we moved forward as the largest state university in Minnesota with the largest number of full time students. We’re on the move,”¬†Davenport said. “We’re building the campus of the future.”

In his time at MSU, MSSA President Matt Lexcen has seen the renovation of Ostrander Auditorium and now the ballroom.

“I get to travel to a lot of other schools with this [job] and its always nice to come back and see what we have,” Lexcen said.

The design team, led by Kass Wilson Architects from Minneapolis, made the idea of a renovated ballroom a reality.

“We started this process with just an idea. A lot of those great ideas came from staff and students,” said Link Wilson of Kass Wilson Architects. “We were inspired by what was here before, but also by the ideas we heard.”

Wilson said that in 1965, plans for the CSU were developed, and eventually executed. During this time, the country was competing in the space race with Russia.

“Nine months ago, if you had walked in here and looked up to the ceiling, you’d see a moonscape,” Wilson said. “Why was it here? It was because we looked up at the heavens and were inspired by what the possibilities of this great nation could be.”

Wilson said that although the space race is over, there is a race far greater students must focus on.

“Today we’re no longer in a space race. We are in a race for innovation, connectivity. We’re in a race for sustainability,” Wilson said. “And when I look out at the students out here today, that race is going to take up a good portion of your energy for the rest of your lives.”

The race has changed, and Wilson said that the ballroom reflects that change.

“I think we’re in a race today that is much more strategic and much more powerful than the space race ever was,” Wilson said. “I think that’s what this space is about, what this ballroom is about.”